Monday, June 1, 2009

China: May 30-31

Note from Sarah: Evan said that it felt like this must be Blog #80 or something like that! He's concerned that his blogs are getting boring, but he's going to stick to it because he's afraid his mom will kill him if he doesn't. I assured him that people are reading them and sincerely enjoying them. If you are reading his blogs from China, please leave a Comment so I can share them with him and let him know that we appreciate him writing these! Thanks!

May 30-31
Started the morning driving a little ways to the final vendor we will visit in the northern section of our trip. They are a larger company near the city of Yantai. We did the audit and tour jazz and then left for Quindao. Quindao is a very large city and is fairly well off as Chinese cities go. It is located on the southern half of a peninsula and has therefore made a lot of money off of the Import/Export business. While in Quindao, we stayed at the Shangri La Hotel. It is very nice. It is a little older than they hotel we stayed at in Yantai, but still very nice. The beds were a little bit softer, and the room was very nice.

We did stop and visit someone in Quindao. We were able to go out to lunch with a man who runs a company in the area that we use. He is a representative of many companies. The companies use him as an organizer. He acts as a sort of go between for the companies and their vendors. AKA, he takes 5% off the top. He is a middle man. This sort of this is going the way of the do-do here in China. They are being cut out of the process as more and more of the American companies are coming over and dealing directly with the vendors. He was a total salesman. Schmoozing the customer. And we have another instance of a setting where the drinking could get out of hand. He took us to a magnificent restaurant that Joe affectionately calls “the fish bowl”. This is because when you first walk into the restaurant, there are about 30 fish tanks with all of the live fish and sea creatures you could think of. There were fish, shrimp, sharks, crabs, sea urchins, sea cucumbers (didn’t have them at the meal, thank God), lobsters, and anything else you can think of. The host walked around and pointed at what he wanted. He pointed at the lobster (I like this guy already), the grouper fish, and many others. Apparently the grouper fish is one of the most expensive there. Our host liked to get the most expensive things (like I said, a salesman) whether it was wine (white wine from Chile), baijiu, or beer it was the best. I was able to stick to the white wine and baijiu. Overall, it was an excellent supper and I enjoyed it very much.

At the end of dinner I was pleasantly buzzing, when he announced that we were going to go to the massage parlor and have a foot massage. This is a common thing in China and is done often. There is an ancient belief in China that the foot is the gateway to the body. Therefore a foot massage is a very healthy thing to do. We went in and they did the full foot massage. This included something that none of the guys there had ever had. This is extraordinary, because I was with two Chinese guys who had too many massages to even count. They ended the massage by taking glass jars (imagine mini fish bowls) and spraying alcohol in them. Then they lit the alcohol on fire so that it burned and got the jars hot. Then they took the still burning jars and pressed the opening to the bottom of our feet. The heat and fire created suction and they stuck to the bottom of my foot. They then proceeded to slide the glass jar along the bottom of my feet. It was a very different feeling. I have seen this type of thing before, but it was always done on the back. They believe that it pulls the toxins out of your blood. I don’t know if it worked or not, but it is a very pleasant way to spend 2 hours, especially when you have a nice buzz going from the alcohol. Yes, you can now be jealous of me. I am basking in your jealousy. Anyhow, it was a pleasant way to end the night. I got back to the hotel and slept like a baby.

The 31st was strictly a travel day. We flew out of Quindao and arrived in Shanghai at around 12:00. We waited there since Roy was flying in from the states to join us. Roy works in the foundry in Prairie du Sac and is our Foundry expert. We had to wait about 3 hours for him to arrive so we just sat in one of the restaurants and messed around on our laptops to waste time. This also marked the end of our travels with Daniel. From here on out we will be joined by the Milwaukee Tonglu Valve (MTV) crew. This is 3 people. We have Kevin who is the General Manager at Tonglu, Sanwan who is the Purchasing agent there, and Mario (as in Andretti) who is our driver. For those of you who don’t know, Milwaukee Valve has a wholly owned plant in Tonglu. They buy most of the Chinese product, assemble much of it, and send it overseas to the Stateside Milwaukee Valve. It is a large plant, and we are only 1 or 2 stages into the development of it. Once complete, they will basically be a sister plant that handles all of the overseas product. They all seem like pretty good guys and Kevin speaks very good English. He will be taking over the duties as interpreter for the group.

We said our goodbyes to Daniel, and our hellos to the rest and set out from Shanghai. By the end of the day we were about 2 hours from Shanghai, and around 1 hour from Shanghai. We had a possible vendor in that area so we shacked up for the night.

Over the next two days, Roy will be taking the lead. The vendors we are looking at are only possible vendors and therefore do not warrant a full ISO audit like I have been doing the past week. I’ll just ride along and ask questions and learn.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin